The store is out of what you need, creativity is running low and dinner hour is looming. What do you do? Turn to the beautiful basics.
Tonight, it was roast chicken breasts. Start by searing them on the stovetop until golden brown, then finish by oven roasting. Easy, foolproof, and almost no recipe required. Success is guaranteed.
Basic Roast Chicken Breasts
The store was out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and there was but one package of bone-in breasts left. Amongst many shoppers, I quickly nabbed the last package to roast for dinner. I’ve never cooked roast chicken breast that my husband did not devour.
Go For Bone-In
Bone-in chicken breasts are an excellent choice at the market. The bone helps preserve flavor and moisture, and they are about half the price of boneless, skinless breasts. All of this, and you can have them on the table in about 35 minutes. An added benefit is part of the time is hands off; you can make some vegetables, toss a salad and finish the rest of the meal.
Even without sauce, roast chicken breasts taste great when well seasoned, seared and finished in the oven. Once you do this you won’t need a recipe. It’s all about technique. Roasting chicken breasts will become one of your basic go-to solutions for getting dinner on the table.
How to Prep Chicken Breasts
Start by trimming off the rib bones and any extra skin or fat with a cleaver or sharp heavy knife. This gets rid of extra little bones many people don’t like dealing with and makes for a much nicer, cleaner presentation.
After trimming, season well with kosher or sea salt, black pepper and granulated garlic. Heat a stainless steel sauté pan, or fry pan over medium heat for a minute or two. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil. The oil is hot when it moves around freely in the pan and liquifies. Don’t let it smoke, which is the sign it’s too hot.
Sear and Oven Finish
Place the chicken breasts in the pan top side (skin side) down. The chicken should sizzle when it hits the pan. Allow a golden crust to form, then turn breasts over and add wine (or broth). Allow liquid to cook down for one minute, then place chicken breasts on the rimmed baking sheet and pour liquid over the top and finish roasting in the oven.
Roast chicken breasts until a digital thermometer (I use a Thermapen) reads 160 degrees in the thickest part without touching the bone (you’ll get an inaccurate reading). The temperature will rise to 165 degrees upon standing for a few minutes before serving. Use the juices like a sauce when it’s done if desired.
If you have chicken breasts of different sizes, the smaller ones will roast faster. Test them first ( at about 20 minutes depending on size) and remove from the oven. Cover with foil and set aside to stay warm, or place in a 200 degree second oven or a warming drawer.
Simple Technique-Make Extra for Leftovers
Try this simple technique for roasting chicken breasts and add it to your repertoire for getting a good dinner on the table. Extra chicken makes wonderful chicken salad for lunch the next day, so have no fear of leftovers or buying more than you think you need. I always plan for leftovers.
This recipe adjusts easily to how many you are serving. Plan one breast per person; maybe a half of a breast for kids or light appetites if they are large sized. Extra chicken breast makes great chicken salad or quesadillas the next day, so don’t fear leftovers. Instead, plan for them and save time the next day.
- 2 pieces bone-in, skin on organic chicken breasts (1 whole breast, split)
- 2 teaspoons Kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1/3 cup white wine (or low to no sodium chicken broth)
- If chicken breasts are cold (refrigerated), allow them to stand approximately 30-45 minutes to get the chill off. You’ll have better results when roasting.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set side. With a cleaver or sharp heavy knife, cut off the rib bones and any excess fat from chicken breasts, leaving some skin attached. Season liberally with salt, pepper and granulated garlic on both sides.
- Heat a cast iron skillet, stainless steel sauté or fry pan over medium heat. Add oil. When oil shimmers and moves around the pan easily place chicken breasts rounded side up in the hot pan. The chicken should sizzle hen it hits the pan. Allow the chicken breasts to cook undisturbed for about two minutes. Peak underneath and if the skin is golden brown, turn the breasts over and cook for another minute or two. Carefully pour in the wine or broth (turn your vent system on or open a window). It will sizzle up wildly so don’t be alarmed. Cook one minute.
- Move the chicken to the baking sheet and pour the wine over the top. Place chicken in the oven and roast until 160 degrees is reached. Remove the chicken and allow to rest for a few minutes. The temperature will rise to the perfect 165 degrees. Serve and enjoy. As soon as an extra is cool, refrigerate.
- – I use mini bottles of wine (airline size) to cook with frequently. The small size is very convenient when you just need a little wine to cook with.
- – In hot weather, if your trash is outside and would smell terrible from raw trimmings, freeze the disposable parts and take out on trash day.
- – To accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken, use a digital thermometer. I like the Thermapen, because the digital read out is large, the are fast, accurate, and even splash proof.